Gabon Riots on Death of Andre Mba Obame, Leading Gabonese Opposition Figure

Supporters of opposition in Gabon went on streets of the capital, burning cars and setting fire to the embassy of Benin, following the death on Sunday of a senior opposition leader.

Andre Mba Obame, leader of a National Union political party was announced dead in Yaounde, capital of neighbouring Cameroon, at around noon (1100 GMT).

Confirming the death, Mba Obame’s National Union party did not however give any cause of the death.

Mba Obame, who was He was 57 years old when he died, served as an adviser to longtime President Omar Bongo, eventually rising to the post of minister of the interior.

In 2009, Mba Obame broke with the ruling party to run for the presidency as an independent following Bongo’s death. Though official results handed victory to the late leader’s son, Ali Bongo, Mba Obame declared himself the winner, leading the authorities to accuse him of treason.

A witness who followed a group of supporters as they burned government service cars and attacked Benin’s embassy said many accused the government of murdering Mba Obame.

Bongo has faced mounting criticism in recent months over a range of grievances and trade union disputes, leading to violent demonstrations in December.

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